1. How will the Gophers replace David Cobb and Maxx Williams? The plan entering camp is to spread the carries among senior Rodrick Williams, sophomore Berkley Edwards and redshirt freshman Rodney Smith. Highly touted tailback recruit Jeff Jones will open camp at wide receiver. As for tight end, look for Brandon Lingen, Duke Anyanwu and Lincoln Plsek to factor into the mix, but there’s nobody on the roster quite like Maxx Williams.

2. Will Mitch Leidner improve his accuracy? He completed 51.5 percent of his passes last year, and everyone knows that must improve. Leidner went to the Manning Passing Academy and worked extensively on his mechanics this offseason. The Gophers will incorporate shorter passes, designed to help him get rid of the ball more quickly and find a rhythm.

3. Which of the redshirt freshmen wide receivers will emerge? The Gophers don’t know what they have at receiver beyond senior KJ Maye and junior Drew Wolitarsky. But they have high hopes for redshirt freshmen Isaiah Gentry, Desmond Gant and Melvin Holland Jr. Jones could also give them a Percy Harvin-type weapon.

4. Who starts on the offensive line? Two starters graduated — center Tommy Olson and guard Zac Epping — but the Gophers will have 2013 starting center Jon Christenson back at full health from his compound leg fracture. Christenson is expected to start at center or guard. The tackles will be Jonah Pirsig and Ben Lauer. Josh Campion will start at guard. Other starting candidates include Brian Bobek, Connor Mayes and Joe Bjorklund.

5. Who replaces Damien Wilson at middle linebacker? Much of the defense is set, but this is the one big question. The Gophers return both starting outside linebackers in De’Vondre Campbell and Jack Lynn. Cody Poock and Everett Williams will be battling for the starting spot in the middle, but if they don’t seize the job, Lynn could take it, with Jonathan Celestin taking his spot on the outside.

 

JOE CHRISTENSEN